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Flash Fiction by
Eckhard Gerdes

Recitals by author.
Art by Brieanne Hauger

arrowA Stubby Storyarrow

After years of tremendous difficulty adjusting to my disability, I was finally able to convince someone to take a chance on hiring me. The department chair who hired me saw my years of experience and took Art by Brieanne Haugerthat into consideration, and she hired me despite my mißing1 leg. I would have an hour every day to make the trip from one end of campus to the Œðer, and when she asked me if I could handle it, I answered certainly.

Let me tell you something about academia, though. It’s not usually the administrators who make life unpleasant. Many of their ¢elghs are instructors and understand what the life of a lowly instructor is like. Nor are the students unreasonable. They may be muddle-headed at times, but most seem inter-rusted in doing what they need to do to succeed academically. One’s greatest enemy is the colleague who, for some reason or Œðer, fancies his or her ¢elgh in competition with you. She will sometimes aßume that the way for her to achieve personal succeß in academia is to make everyone else around her miserable. She pounces on the shortcomings of Œðers. Would you believe that I was actually confronted by a colleague who told me that the sound of my wooden leg circlestumping around the officecircle was a distraction to her, though her lengthy personal telephone calls were, one should aßume, not to be thought a distraction to anyone else. Yes, Virginia, control freaks run rampant on college campuses. Sit in on a faculty meeting. You’ll hear them. They want uniform text adoption; they want hierarchical control over parking facilities. Even the most repreßive administrator rolls his or her eyes at this. Two hours after the administrator has tried to end the faculty meeting, the control freak insists they discuß in detail who gets what faculty development funds when.

What did I do? I told my ↓colleague↓ I’d keep my office hours in my car two blocks away (I was not permitted any consideration for my parking needs because the colleague had complained about that as well). That way my circlestumping around the officecircle would no longer disturb her personal telephone calls.

Now, did I understand you correctly when you said you were inter-rusted in a job in academia? Are you sure? Are you ready for the petty?



Crop Circle Romance

I searched the stacks for Crop Circle Romance. I searched under ►cult◄, ►romance◄, ►fiction◄, ►ballooning◄, and even ►farming◄. I tried to locate a card catalogue, but had no luck. I was almost ready to aßume that library was clean of the cult books, not a bad thing in its own rights, but then I saw a poster above a display case on the library’s third floor. The poster featured a quote from a famous Bözmacher cult member named Crewvolta Prinfreshalley. ϪLet Pops free your balloon!Ϫ said the poster. <<Pops,>> of course, was a nickname for Clay Ashtray, the cult’s founder. Bingo! The cult had indeed infiltrated the library at one time. And the display case contained several different editions of well-known Bözmacher texts, including the elusive Crop Circle Romance. The case wasn’t locked, so extricating the volume was not a problem.

Ah, here it was—the really embarraßing section where Pillsbury says that female symbiants are like sweet cherries, and that if a girl wants to become a woman, she must have a special man (named ►Needle Dick◄ in the novel) who has been trained in how to correctly take from her her cherry balloon and pop it when no one else is around so that the symbiant floats harmleßly back out into space.

Despite the cult’s embarraßment over this, the cherry-popping needle dick training remained enormously popular and lucrative for the stations. Every young man, it seemed, fancied his ¢elgh to be the perfect needle dick for popping cherries.

The preventing of escape of gaßes and the ultimate popping seemed contradictory. That’s exactly what I thought. The cult’s tenets contradict their ¢elghs. If this cult ever grows into a legitimate religion, a great schism lies ahead between the Poppers and the Inflaters. Poppers will be called Deflaters, and Ashtray’s own writing will be used against him. However, the Inflaters will undoubtedly denounce Crop Circle Romance as scurrilous and as a fraud. Pillsbury was not Ashtray, just an imposter who wanted to mislead those of the true faith. The Ashtray we see on video discußing Crop Circle Romance was an impersonator.

This was good. I had my weapon.



Part Nine—<<The Difference Between a Woman and an Object of Desire>> by Heinrich Behn

O.D. Object of desire.
O.D.’d Overdosed.
Odd. Woman.
A.D.D. Attention something.
Add. The mathematics of attraction.
Ad. The commerce of attraction.
Id. My attraction.
I.U.D. Prevention of attraction’s side effects.
I.E.D. Improvised explosive desires.
I.D. My dentals records confirm me.
I.T. Information attraction.
It. Object of desire.
I.V. What attraction leads to.
U.V. Ultra-violent Ray-Bans for my opiated objects.
U.H.F. Trying to be understanding with high frequency.
V.H.F. Venting with high fever.
V.D. Vehicle of desire.
O.D. Object of destiny.
O.K. Optimal knowledge.
K.O. Kingdom overthrown.
K.O.A. Killing of alternatives.
D.O.A. Destined orderly abandonment.
Doe Innocence of the woman.
Dog Obedience of the man.
O.G. Constant expreßion of error.
O.U. Constrained mockery of failure.
U.O. Feeling of guilt.
U.R. Blame.
R.U.? Question of reciprocity.
R.T. Craftineß.
M.T. Internal remnants.
M.O. This has happened before.
D.O. Disappearance of the object.
O.D. The object turns around and returns.
Odd The object becomes woman.
O.D. The man becomes slave to his addiction and loses his humanity.
Odd Repetition compulsion established.
O.D. The Œðer is deified.
Odd The Œðer is decreed to be destiny.
O.D. Ordinary days.
Odd Only dependability, dig?
O.D. Options discarded.
Odd Only do as demanded.
O.D. It’s over, dude.


1The novel is set in the not-too-distant future, on Mars, and language has gone through a few cosmetic changes by then.


Eckhard GerdesEckhard Gerdes is the editor of Journal of Experimental Fiction, an occasional publication dedicated to the furthering of forefront fiction. He has The Unwelcome Guest plus Nin and Nan by Eckhard Gerdespublished criticism in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, American Review of Books, Electronic Book Review, and has a chapter in SUNY Press’s new title, Federman’s Fictions. His fiction has appeared in Fiction International, Notre Dame Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Golden Handcuffs Review, Coe Review, Oyez Review, Rampike, and in many other fine magazines and journals. He is the author of Hugh Moore, The Unwelcome Guest plus Nin and Nan, and nine other published novels, including My Landlady the Lobotomist, which was a top five finisher in the 2009 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll and was nominated for the 2009 Wonderland Book Award for Best Novel of the Year. His The Million-Year Centipede was selected as one of the top ten mainstream novels of 2007 in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll and was nominated for the 2008 Wonderland Award. He has twice been the recipient of the Richard Pike Bissell Creative Writing Award for excerpts from Przewalski's Horse, has also been a finalist for both the Starcherone and the Blatt fiction prizes for his unpublished manuscript White Bungalows, and for Cistern Tawdry he was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award in the Fiction Category. He lives near Chicago and has three sons. Visit his website.


Brieanne HaugerBrieanne Hauger works on a commission basis, which is typically collaborative. This has the dual advantage of being economically sound as well as sidestepping the cultural apparatus. Her in-progress website is, or she may be reached at



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Cistern Tawdry by Eckhard Gerdes Hugh Moore by Eckhard Gerdes Przewalski's Horse by Eckhard Gerdes The Million-Year Centipede by Eckhard Gerdes The Unwelcome Guest plus Nin and Nan by Eckhard Gerdes My Landlady the Lobotomist